I'm a bit baffled - the Tralee to Rosslare Route 40 is running 10 year old buses. A bit tired with a bit of vibration and and a bit of bumpy ride going on.
Meanwhile I see they have the newer VDL Futuras on shorter runs.
Is it really as simple as the NTA funding the new Futuras for PSO routes and thus can't be put on Expressway.
Because tbh the 10 year old Berkhofs arent really the job to help encourage more use of public transport.
Where do I start with the Berkhofs...
You get hard seats, you feel the road via vibrations/bit of bumpiness. You really do feel like you are in an oldish vehicle with a fair few miles on the clock.
Certainly not the experience some ads have promised.
Feels to me that a rethink is needed.
Route 40 as an example is a fairly long route - it should have decent coaches on it if we are serious about making buses an alternative to the car.
Where is the thing going wrong - is it....
1) me being too fussy.
2) Lack of vision at Bus Eireann.
While I'd love high end Vanhool style stuff - I'm realistic enough to realise that it's unrealistic to expect that sort of coach at Bus Eireann.
Id be fairly happy with a Futura tbh - it does the job okay from the limited experience I had with one last year.
You sort of answered your own question there. The NTA are funding the new buses and they are restricted to PSO work. I can understand where they are coming from. Expressway routes are purely commercial and BE can essentially do what they like with them within the realms of the law, if the NTA were to fund new buses for BE Expressway routes then that would seen as favouring one operator over another. Expressway is essentially a private bus.
Previous answer is correct
I just wanted to jump in and say VDL of old are actually more reliable than the new ones from personal experiences
Those LD's and LF's and even new LC's are all the biggest load of wank boxes I've ever come across
In no other vehicles have I ever felt wipers moving causing vibrating in the accelerator pedal.
The LD and LF type are suffering breakdowns nearly everyday of the week, I'm surprised their not being compared to Dublin coach for breakdowns !
OP, I'm gonna say , for everyones sake, I hope VDL never make another bus for bus eireann / expressway again and those vehicles disappear.
I'm actually delighted we're losing a good batch of LDs to go ahead, I'd happily welcome them to all our LDs and LFs.
What sort of coach/bus would you like to see replace the VDLS????.
I should add that my experience is just as a passenger
I think the SE's are popular with the drivers from an odd conversation with them
how long a journey is that tralee to rosslare route? it must be a long one?
My experiences are as a CIE bus / coach driver
Volvo, mercedes, Scania, Setra, vanhool,
Basically anything that is not a VDL
There are plenty of other options out there, as with the previous poster, I do quite like our current fleet of modern Scanias from the SC300 and the SE fleet.
I've driven a few Scanias from Translink too from their i4 to their cateno double deck , triaxle coach and have to say, bar a few differences (radios, displays etc), they are also nice to drive.
Go ahead will have plenty of fun with them on the side of the road anyway so good luck to both the VDLs and go ahead !
The problem is that is a public body, Bus Eireann must tender for new vehicles and the problem often with tendering for new vehicles is that it's not so simple to just order with what you want, you set out criteria, people make bids and whoever gives the best one on the criteria gets to provide the vehicles. The problem with the VDL stuff is that it's often built to a price to win a tender, which just encourages corners to be cut, since tenders are normally very much heavily weighted in favour of price.
VDL is a strange company, they bought a fair few other companies, Berkhof, Bova, Jonckheere etc and all of them existed in their own right for a good while under the VDL umbrella. Slowly the companies lost their identity and became just plain VDL and were all merged together. Bova and Berkhof had a reputation for building cheap but functional vehicles, normally intgrals, but nothing amazing. Jonckheere was always a name that was well known with good, solid reliable vehicles, normally based on Volvo Chassis and they had a rather good reputation and still do and are nice coaches.
The problem is that the vehicles that Bus Eireann have are pretty much all derivatives of the Berkhof vehicles that started with the LC and LD. Sure they've had a couple of facelifts and name changes through the years, but essentially they're the same vehicle with the same problems. A lot of the Bus Eireann ones have problems with corrosion as well and had to have repairs for these reason, they really are a poor coach. As stated earlier, the only VDL product worth buying is a Jonckheere.
I am very aware of their tendering for these vehicles and also like to point that the NTA actually tendered for these vehicles from 2015 onwards afaik
I am also aware of the rust issue on the older vehicles which were sorted out for the 2015+ fleet
However , the issues I've experienced with the VDL fleet from 2015+ is electronics failing, gearbox failures and engine overheating ,breakdowns and airbags bursting.
And most of those faults have left myself and collouges on the side of the road only for the vehicle to be recovered later by the low loader or tow truck.
These are what I mean by reliability and unfortunately these vehicles are not reliable mechanically and electronically. And unfortunately VDL have made a very bad name for themselves with bus eireann with the drivers, mechanics, procurement and management.
I do believe management have a disliking to these vehicles too and have also explained this to the NTA, because everytime a vehicle breakdown it goes towards lost milage, dropped services and they get reported back to the NTA and with the reason why
I also have however heard recently through the grapevine that the NTA have had a sort of falling out with VDL and they won't be ordering anymore coaches with them in future that appearently theyve gone to Volvo UK for PSO coaches. (Not to be confused with buses from Ballymena)
So hopefully something decent to come along !
Sure, I understand that but the NTA do not get to pick what vehicles are ordered or who builds them at the end of the day. They have to go with whoever wins a tender and since VDL have won a lot of tenders, it's pretty obvious that they are very good and putting forward a bid that ticks all the boxes as far as this is concerned for both BE and NTA issued tenders for double deck coaches.
So whether the NTA have had a falling out with VDL or not is really academic because if VDL win the tender and offer the best bid then they'll be ordering more of their vehicles, unless the NTA write the tender in a certain way to exclude VDL vehicles without explicitly saying that in the tender, whilst not excluding other vehicles from manufacturers that they do want to bid.
I agree they are poor vehicles and neither the NTA or Bus Eireann would order them if they could buy things on the open market. But the reality of being a public body is generally you will have to go via the tender route, whereas someone like Aircoach for instance, can just go and buy whatever it wants.
Hold on guys...how does this explain them taking the new double deckers off the X1 route and replacing them with contractors and older models? They WERE expressawy so the NTA explanation does not make sense, what gives there?
It's something that really annoys me.
The Waterford to Cork section alone is around 2 hrs 15 minutes.
Practically all single carriageway apart from around Midleton to the Silversprings Hotel.
I haven't done Tralee to Cork in a while but I'd say similar again.
To be fair the numbers doing the full route would likely be scarce.
Many users will do smaller sections - ie Youghal to Cork. Tralee to Cork or Waterford to Cork.
Many route 40 services don't do the Wexford leg - but there is a Waterford to Wexford Route 370*
The buses from Wrights in Ballymena are supplied under a contract with Volvo UK. The NTA renewed their double decker contract with Volvo UK last year, Volvo UK have held the contract for years.
The Volvo UK double decker bus contract has always been sub-contracted to Wrights, they have never had an actual contract direct with Wrights. It is assumed that all double decks will in future be supplied by Wrights but this is not 100% certain. The contract for all single decker buses is now also with Volvo UK since the contract with VDL concluded, but I believe the VDL double decker coach contract still stands.
What adds some confusion however is what I was told previously that Wrights would supply the single decker's for the GA Kildare services, but, due to a contract change that Volvo UK will supply them instead.
When you say single decker buses is that including VDL Futura type coaches - or do you mean city buses